Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

Does a Ducks quack, quack back…

I get tons of forwarded emails and messages about such facts. Infact, theres a new term for this. Its called internet-folklore. One of the interesting facts (or myths) that I recently came across was

“Does a ducks quack echo back”.

I was watching Myth Busters on Discovery Channel and they recently busted the myth. Ducks quack DO echo back. But the reason why its made it into internet-folklore is that the reverberations of the quack and the echo are so similar, that people (including compturs and wave form softare) confuse it as a regular quack.

Recent research on echos reveals that humans voice and echo is represented as a big spike (voice) followed by a lull and a smaller spike (echo) in the spectrum. Instead of this phenomena, in the ducks case, there is a gradual decrease in the waveform that forms after a ducks quack and its echo back. Which is hard to distinguish for both humans and computers alike since the gradual decrease gets confused for a duck quacking on and on when its quite and its echo is being thrown all over. Giving the wrong impression that a ducks quack, dont quack back after hitting a wall.

Hence, another myth busted…Good job Adam and Jammie…

–Tashfeen.

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September 27, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Lets give mother earth a fast too…

Wishing everybody a wonderful month of Ramazan

And while we increase our prayer credits, good deeds, repent our mistakes, and try to reduce our daily consumption of food in solitude with others, lets also try to give mother earth a break as well. By curbing our daily Co2 emissions to a bare minimum :). The
“EPA Global Warming Calculator tool” is an online calculator that demonstrates our daily consumption and how its affecting our society. And what measures we can use to reduce it ten folds.

Go plant a tree and Happy fasting :).

— Tashfeen.

September 24, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

microsoft goes zune zune…

Actually its more like zune as in zuny or zuni. Or so I’m told.

Microsoft recently has launched its portable MP3 player which has some cool features. Such as wifi access, social networking opportunities (connect with ppl of like interest and like tastes), tag based music categorization, and a cool 30Gb packed in an impressive display and video design.

As a launch, Microsoft gave Endgadget some of these new devices to distribute as free giveaways as Endgadgets relaunc their website. So now you have a chance to get your hands on a ‘zune’. But at a cost, you need to scrap a message on Endgadgets blog letting them know your favorite song and the author. And in return, Endgadget, will randomly pick out one winner from the blogs per week and hand them a zune for free. Good deal. And since 19th of Sept., the day they announced they are giving zune’s away, they received 10,000 scraps on the first day :)…how cool is that….

Here are the links:

Endgadgets gives away free Microsoft Zunes

Microsoft’s Zune Insider’s Blog

Oscar moment pictures of Zune

Happy scrapping zuners…And if you dont win a Zune, you can always check the post below and try to figure out how the website figures out your symbol each time :)…Wizardy or magic :P…

–Tashfeen

September 22, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

— Mind Reading…

Wizardy or magic :o…check for yourself…

http://www.milaadesign.com/wizardy.html

By the way, my fiance’ figured out the trick. Mind reading or whatever, She’s posted her findings as a comment. Lets see if others can figure it out ;)…

But dont cheat, try to figure it out yourself first…;)….

Curses…haarrrrrr :p,
–Tashfeen.

September 21, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

up in the sky…its a star…its Anousheh…

Get your telescopes ready space enthusiasts…

Now you can see Expedition 14 (Anousheh’s Crew) dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Anousheh’s crew on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz will dock with the ISS on 20th Sep at 930p PST. To view sky tracking info wrt to your region and headings to see the ISS, log on to Nasa’s Human Space Flight Sightings and Tracking. They provide real time orbit of the ISS and the docking space crafts.

As far as my region is concerned, the ISS should make a fly by the horizon at 558a on the 21st, and 449a on the 22nd. I will miss the actual docking but I can always see the Soyuz docked static with the space station. The viewing time for my region is 3 mins, thats about the time the ISS will be in my regions space before speeding out into the horizon.

I’ll hopefully catch a glimpose of when Anousheh departs the ISS onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis 8 days from now. For a live video feed of the docking as it happens, log on to Nasa’s live web tv. .

–Tashfeen

September 19, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anoushey…T minus 8 hrs to launch…thank you Yoda…

So Anousheh Ansari’s big day has finally arrived. She is all set to launch in eight hours for the stars as part of a crew on board the Russian built Soyuz. This space vehicle has become the worlds most used space launch vehicle and has been taking astronauts and cosmonauts into space for the last five decades.

Another interesting find, these days the hottest blog on wordpress is Anoushey’s space blog. No surprises there…

When she touches down around October, which is also the month of the previous Ansari X prize winner, Space Ship One’s. second anniversary, she will unveil Ansari X Prize for 2006, Weblink here., titled “X PRIZE CUP ’06 – Moon 2.0”.

We all wish Anoushey a safe and pleasant journey.

Want to thank our mentors:
Also interestingly, if you want to thank the higher intelligence “alien” beings for transferring such technologies such as the internet, space launches, and other cool gadgets to us over the past 50 years, you can do so now. National Geographic has set up a website called Humans Need Help. to show our appreciation to all they have done for us. Through this project, anyone can compose a short message for our alien friends and beam it into space, from where our historical mentors are proudly watching us at this time. I bet it would be a proud moment for our space venturing mentors…

Also, check out the funky music video that National Geographic is playing these days in tribute to the aliens :P…

–Live well and prosper…ZOINK…

— Tashfeen.

September 18, 2006 Posted by | Space | Leave a comment

Anybody for scuba..

I’ve been planning to go scuba dive for the past one month but just havent got around to actually going ahead. A few days ago, I got hold of the canon powershot A610. Now I’m waiting to get my hands on the underwater shooting kit that comes with it and using that as motivation to go dive….

As a side show, I’ve been planning a vacation trip somewhere close to home. And just south west of Pakistan (about 435 mi south-west of Sri Lanka to be exact), I found an island paradise, Maldives . Surprisingly, I knew very little of this nation of tiny islands and how far ahead it is as an island resort. Heres what I could gather about it and have marked it as my next vacation spot for sure…

Info about Maldives, Wiki Reference:

1. Maldives is the smallest muslim country, south west of Sri Lanka.
2. Its the smallest Asian country that is a member of the UN
3. Research indicates that as early as 2000 BC, Maldives lay on the maritime trading routes of early Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Indus Valley civilizations.
4. With eighty-six tourist resorts in operation, the year 2000 recorded 467,154 tourist arrivals.
5. And my favorite, the best past time for tourists are white sand beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling, ocean line cruises, nightlife, and shopping.

So Maldives has to be in schedule for the next vacation ;).

— Tashfeen.

September 16, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

blog…what blog??? prepare to be assimilated….

Writers block…

But wait, its just cured. Just now, I was talking to a friend of mine whose a doctor. He asked me simple question. “What is a blog, its supposedly the IN thing. I want to know more about it so that I can jump on it too…”.

Simple enough answer right. But no, since I’m a techie, I suffer from what the people call “number of electricians changing a light bulb” syndrome. I’ll start off real simple and even though I know the other person has got the real gist of things, but I want to go on and on and explain to him in finer details.

And there I go. Social networking, RSS feeds, posts, ping back….BUT WAIT, not this time. This time I simply let my mind wander off like Dr. John Dorrian from Scrubs and stopped right there instead of ‘thinking out loud’.

So instead of doing what I usually WOULD HAVE done under normal circumstances and explaining in long detail about what a blog is, I just answered and I quote myself in msn messenger text:


//Tashfeens Chat with his physician friend whose a non techie and wants to know more about Blogging


Tashfeen – says:
its some peoples way of saying that they currently are trying to expand their social life without getting out of their cozy homes…and some are more successful than others…

friend says:
but how does it work. how do run a blogg?

Tashfeen says:
just visit any blog site like:

// Here the author gives his friend web urls of various blog sites…

Tashfeen says:
and make a blog…

friend says:
hmmm , nah man ive already t much to do…

friend says:
wudnt wanna add another thing to my list..

now wasnt that too simple. Its not like i’ve told him to initiate the warp reactor by fiddling with the quantum matrix crystals :p…therefore proof, that most people shy away from blogs because they think that blogs are too technical and hence only for techies…

still the trend is fast catching on…


Question: What is a blog?
Answer: GEEKS R US…prepare to be assimilated…

enjoy the weekend…:)

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September 12, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Shaukat Khanum Cancer treatment and Research Hospital

There are only a few things in this world that bring people joy and true sense of acheivement. Charity is one of those things. And what better way to kick it off than a charity drive for a cause. These days Imran Khan , Pakistans former cricket team captain and currently an active politician is running a charity drive for his cancer treatment and research hospital, the Shaukat Khanum Cancer treatment and Research Hospital. Along with him are former Miss World, Shushmita Sen and another former Pakistan cricket team captain Wasim Akram. Their live charity drive telethon is being broadcasted on Geo TV throughout the 9th and 10th of September. Additional information on the telethon broadcast schedules and timings, the donations hotline, and charity pledges hotlines is available at this website.

Imran Khan founded the hospital after winning the world cup for Pakistan in early 90s. Both running the hospital and treatment of cancer patients are done through charities, zakat, and donations from people all over the world. Therefore the treatment for the poor is completely free.

They have a set donations mark that they are trying to acheive for this years patient treatment and any amount of donations would help a great deal. People can get additional details and make pledges and donations through the Shaukat Khanum Hospital Website.

In addition, a very cool Red Wrist Band Campain for Cancer Patients treatment with ‘Cancer is curable’ engraved on it has been initiated by the doctors and TOTAL Parco Pakistan Ltd. These wrist bands are also available at select Bata shoe stores across Pakistan.

Lets help drive cancer into yesterdays problem…

Again important websites for contributions and additional information:

Shaukat Khanum Website

Hot lines, Hot pledges, online donations, additional information, click me

Cool Wrist Band Campaign

— Tashfeen.

September 9, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Of gods, cylons, and stars..


“There are those who believe… that life here… began out there. Far across the universe. With tribes of humans… who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians… or the Toltecs… or the Mayans… that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids… or the lost civilizations of Lemuria… or Atlantis… Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man… who even now fight to survive… somewhere beyond the heavens.”

Excerpts BattleStar Galactica Website

This is one heck of a show. It brings together some very scientific, mythical, religious, and historical beliefs that we as humans adhere to in a very thrilling and edge-of-the-seat entertainment. A very interesting concept brought forth. Questions such as where do we come from. Are we really an amnesiac race. Forgotting our technologically advanced past through all the wars fought over the past few millennia. Questions not directly shown in the show but one thinks about later on. Such as the building of Egyptian Pyramids, the myth of Atlantis, and the civilization of the Mayas. The artefacts these civilizations left…their purpose, their design, their significance wrt the cosmos and constellations, etc. I would like to talk more about the pyramids and their history but thats another lengthy post, so I’ll stack this idea somewhere for later and adhere to WHY I love this show.

To bring these questions to life, the authors have linked our age old mythical beliefs about our birth stars. The planets that humans are shown to inhabit, called colonies, are based in our constellations ie Planet Caprica in the Capricorn constellation, Planet Arron in aries, Planet Sagitton in Sagitarius etc. Smart analogy. Twelve colonies in total. Twelve human tribes. Spread across the cosmos. A thirteenth tribe is said to exist called Earth. Its location unknown. Its existence, a myth. The thirteenth tribe is shown as being us, humans on this planet. This is the thirteenth tribe that BSG is looking for throughout space….

Continue reading

September 9, 2006 Posted by | Space, Technology Talk | Leave a comment